Synthwave is a form of Electronic music that takes most of its inspiration from synth music and pop culture from the 1980s. Musically, synthwave is often instrumental and has a “retro futuristic” theme, with large, throbbing, retro synths. It draws inspiration from a variety of genres that originated or popular during the 1980s, including Synth Pop, Progressive Electronic, Italo-Disco, Electro-Disco and other styles. The visual element of synthwave is very important to the genre. Album covers are heavily influenced by 1980s films (especially Science Fiction and Action movies, such as Blade Runner or The Terminator), TV shows (such as Miami Vice and Knight Rider), video games (notably OutRun and similar titles), and other elements important in 1980s culture.
The origins of synthwave can be traced back to French Electro House scene in the mid-2000s. Kavinsky combined Electro House music with elements of 1980s Electronic music, complete with 1980s inspired artwork. Soon after, several French producers, such as College, Anoraak,
and Minitel Rose began producing similar styled music. There have also been key synthwave soundtracks and compilations, such as Drive and Hotline Miami that attributed to its success.